A pandemic and fibromyalgia
I apologize to my dear ‘old’ readers of the past for not writing blogs for many, many months. I do hope that some of you are still around thinking about this site and will join me once more. I have not had much energy this past year and most of you can understand the lapse. When one sometimes cannot bear to even open the computer because of crushing fatigue all fibromyalgia sufferers can relate. Such is my only excuse.
But this worldwide crisis has inspired me to write about not only my own feelings but those who also have the ‘pre-existing ‘ condition of chronic fatigue and its twin fibromyalgia which increases our anxiety, pain, frustration, loneliness, and fear. The questions are many but the most common: is this symptom(s) fibromyalgia or CoVid19?
It is ironic that the main symptoms of this plague are exactly those of fibromyalgia. Other than a fever I frequently have all the others that are listed. How to differentiate between what is ‘normal’ for me and what is the virus? Sore throat, runny nose, headache, muscle pain- all of us experience these on a frequent basis. The onset of a flare-up is similar to flu-like symptoms.
What is to be done? More mindfulness, frequent calming videos, exercising as much as possible in the house, going out for short walks, and if possible speaking with a therapist via phone, zoom, face time, or other means. Taking up a new hobby is encouraged but if in constant pain or fatigue this often isn’t an appealing option. It is a struggle not to succumb to inertia and hopelessness.
On the more upbeat side (if that is possible!), staying home and avoiding crowds is something our bodies yearn for in ‘ordinary’ times, so it is perhaps not as difficult for us as it is for people who enjoy a more social life. But, even then if our families living with us are not calm, quiet, and helpful during this crisis we may be overwhelmed by their constant presence.
I am one of the more fortunate ones. I live with a husband who is a caregiver. He is steady, comforting, and not prone to catastrophic thinking. In fact, my days have been more serene. Children and friends food shopped for us in the early days. Old friends have reconnected through social media and I have felt comfort away from the somewhat rushing days that I did before this self–isolation.
Its been said by so many that the world needed this rest from all the destruction caused by human consumption, air, and car travel, and consumerism. So too can our central nervous system appreciates the calm.
I am also fortunate that I am retired and I don’t have to worry about finances. My heart goes out to those who are in a dire financial state, or who live alone and are unable to find resources to help make their days easier.
I was born in the polio era with children dying every day in Canada. As a teenager, I trained as a nurse and we students were required to work for 2 months in a tuberculosis sanatorium, wearing masks, gloves, and protective gowns, always fearful we would catch Tb. Now in my old age with heart disease and fibromyalgia which compromises my mobility I have time for reflection. It is a peculiar time of life.
May 12th, the birthday of Florence Nightingale, what would she think of this pandemic? I salute my comrades as I recall the fear I had every day working with tuberculosis patients. Have we come so far from polio, tuberculosis, and other epidemics? It is time for reflection as we wait out these days, wondering what will be done by future generations? If, as I have claimed, fibromyalgia is a form of PTSD (extreme anxiety) will, even more, join us in this club of ours? It is widely thought that Florence Nightingale herself suffered from fibromyalgia.
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